Arkansas courts block resumption of executions

Anti-death penalty supporter Randy Gardner right embraces Abraham Bonowitz left after they read on his phone the 11:45 p.m. decision to halt the execution in their taped off

Anti-death penalty supporter Randy Gardner right embraces Abraham Bonowitz left after they read on his phone the 11:45 p.m. decision to halt the execution in their taped off"protest corral outside the Varner Unit late Monday

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas prepared again Thursday to conduct its first executions since 2005, wary and tired after a series of court decisions gutted its unprecedented plan to put eight men to death before the end of the month. Johnson's attorneys requested additional DNA testing on evidence that they say could prove his innocence in the 1993 rape and killing of Carol Heath.

"The Arkansas Supreme Court in 2004 unanimously rejected an identical argument brought by Inmate Stacey Johnson, but today, by a vote of four to three, the Court has without legal explanation blocked the execution of an individual sentenced by two different juries".

Death row inmates Stacey Johnson (left) and Ledell Lee are both scheduled to be put to death Thursday, though court rulings have put those executions on hold for now.

It takes five justices, a majority of the court, to issue a stay or lift one that has been imposed in another court. The state can ask the Arkansas Supreme Court to reconsider its decision or appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which on Monday opted not to vacate a separate stay involving inmate Davis.

The Supreme Court has the final say on nearly every execution, and the justices reject all but a few emergency appeals by inmates. Answers to death penalty queries. The Washington Post reports that he was "surprised and disappointed" by the decisions made by the Arkansas Supreme Court. Instead, the action came from a state Supreme Court that's been the focus of expensive campaigns by conservative groups to reshape the judiciary. According to a state prison official's testimony in the drug case, he "deliberately ordered the drugs previous year in a way that there wouldn't be a paper trail, relying on phone calls and text messages".

The Department of Correction had planned an earlier pair of executions Monday and similarly moved condemned inmate Don Davis to the Cummins Unit over the weekend.

The judge facing re-election, Courtney Goodson, lost her bid for chief justice previous year after conservative groups blanketed the state with ads attacking her.

An inmate set to die Thursday night is asking the Arkansas Supreme Court to block his execution so he can pursue more DNA tests in hopes of proving his innocence.

Another inmate, Ledell Lee, was scheduled for execution Thursday night and has a similar request pending for more DNA testing, though a Pulaski County judge ruled against him Tuesday.

The state filed an amended plan Monday that grants attorneys for the inmates more phone access while on prison grounds.

Lawyers for the inmates set to be executed Thursday are relying primarily on claims the men are innocent.

Arkansas' supply of a drug used in lethal injections - Midazolam - is set to expire at the end of this month. "It is inconceivable that this court, with the facts and the law well established, stays these executions over speculation that the (U.S.) Supreme Court might change the law".

Their strategy to win stays is in marked contrast to the first two inmates who faced the death chamber and were spared Monday by arguing they should not be put to death because of mental health issues. Outside groups and the candidates spent more than $1.6 million past year on a pair of high court races that were among the most fiercely fought judicial campaigns in the state's history.

Recommended News

  • Russian crew blasts off for space station with one empty seat

    Roscosmos has reported that two of four Soyuz spacecraft crews will comprise two instead of three members in 2017. The two American astronauts are scheduled to speak with President Donald Trump on Monday.
    Kashyap crashes out in prequarters of China Masters

    Kashyap crashes out in prequarters of China Masters

    However, it was curtains for Sai Uttejitha Rao Chukka and Sri Krishna Priya Kudaravalli in the women's singles. On the other hand, Bin displayed some quality game and outplayed Kashyap 10-21 to win the first game.
    Say Goodbye To The 5th Avenue Apple Store's Glass Cube, For Now

    Say Goodbye To The 5th Avenue Apple Store's Glass Cube, For Now

    Curbed's request for a comment from Apple was unreturned, and the company declined to issue a comment to Crain's as well. The tech giant is expanding the store from 32,000 square feet to 77,000 square feet, according to MacRumors .
  • US defence secretary arrives in Cairo for Sisi meeting

    US defence secretary arrives in Cairo for Sisi meeting

    On Thursday, the military announced it had killed a top IS cleric in Sinai air strikes, along with 18 other jihadists. On Tuesday, Mattis began a tour of the Middle East and Africa, starting with Saudi Arabia before he arrived in Egypt.
    A New Frontier' Episode 4 Revealed

    A New Frontier' Episode 4 Revealed

    There are some spoilers in A New Frontier episode four's trailer, so if you haven't played them yet, just be warned. With distrust running rampant, you'll have to determine if blood is thicker than water .
    France's Macron has call with Obama ahead of election

    France's Macron has call with Obama ahead of election

    The two men were both known to police and intelligence services for their religious radicalism, authorities said. The far-left candidate did this once before, in February, but that one holographic showing was just a tune-up.
  • 'Deadpool 2': Leslie Uggams Returning As Blind Al

    'Deadpool 2': Leslie Uggams Returning As Blind Al

    Another character also returns, that of Morena Baccarin aka Vanessa and the actress recently teased her evolution in Deadpool 2 . When asked by BlackFilm .com if she has a role in the second instalment, Leslie simply replied: " Definitely ".

    Indians feared killed in US' mother of all bombs attack

    The report also identified two militants killed in the raid as Commander Mohammad, an Indian national and Geeta, an Indian national.

    USA accuses Iran of 'alarming ongoing provocations'

    But Rex Tillerson has come pretty close to saying the agreement is not worth keeping, even though he's had to admit it's working. He also said that the Trump administration launched a review of its policy toward Tehran.
  • Patriots curiously fight with NY Times over Trump crowd size

    Seating staffers on the lawn, instead of posing them on the stairs, made the turnout discrepancy appear larger than it was. Some players reportedly declined to attend the White House ceremony because they didn't want to be seen with Trump.
    Netflix Growth Slows Due To Content Delays

    Netflix Growth Slows Due To Content Delays

    Netflix says the opportunity ahead remains "gigantic" despite a slowdown in subscriber numbers, including global markets. Netflix's subscriber growth shows no sign of slowing, with nearly half its customers coming from outside the U.S.

    VERIFY: Buy American, Hire American - what does executive order actually do?

    Trump made it clear that this order declares that American projects should be made with American goods. His businesses also have hired foreign workers, including at his Palm Beach, Fla., club.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.